Thoughts on 9-11
Today marks the 19th Anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, four passenger planes were hijacked midair by 19 al-qaeda terrorists, masterminded by Osama Bin Laden. Two the planes crashed into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, causing the 110-story towers to collapse over the following hour and 42 minutes, causing the collapse of the rest of the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower. A third plane crashed into the Pentegon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane was intitially flown toward Washington, DC, but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers heroically fought back against the hijackers.
The attacks resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, over 6,000 injured, and 10 billion dollars in infrastructure and property damage. 9-11 is the considered the deadliest terrorist attack in recorded history, and the single deadliest for firefighters and law enforcement officers in American history, with 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers killed.
The attackers who planned and executed these attacks were wicked men, and all judicious efforts to bring them to justice were right and proper. And our remembrance of those who lost their lives as well as our honor of those brave and courageous men and women who gave their lives to save others is good and thoroughly Christian. And yet, we should not pass this moment without also noting that all of that can be true and I believe is true, and at the same time, God used those attacks to strike America. Not only did Osama Bin Laden strike America, but God struck America.
This motif is found throughout the Bible, perhaps most famously in Isaiah where God uses the rod of foreign nations to strike Israel for their idolatries and evil, and God can do that and still hold the foreign nation to account for their violence and bloodshed (cf. Is. 10).
But here we are 19 years later, and we still have not learned the lesson. We have still not repented of our sins. In the aftermath of 9-11, President George W. Bush attended a blasphemous, multi-cultural worship service in the National Cathedral, where the Lord Jesus was named alongside all of the gods of the nations. There were rabbis and Roman Catholics and Muslim Imams and more. It was a smorgasboard of idolatry, and it represented our disease and our hard-heartedness well.
But the disease of idolatry can never be contained. If you do not destroy your idols, your idols will destroy you. And so here we are in 2020 being eroded from the inside by our idolatries, by our fears. Our idols of health and fitness: struck. Our idols of financial and economic security: struck. Our trust in horses and chariots to save us: struck. Our trust in government officials: struck. And now California and Oregon and Washington are up in flames for their mismanagement of God’s creation, for their arrogant hubris in rejecting the sources of energy He has provided, and believing the lies of climate change and environmentalism.
If God wanted our attention, it could not really be more clear. He has lit up the sky bright orange. God is striking America. God is striking us everywhere and in every way, and He will not stop striking us until we repent. Until we humble ourselves and confess our sins to our parents, to our children, to our spouses, and cry out to Him to save us. You cannot live in God’s world and defy Him. You cannot live in God’s world and carry on without His blessing. Jesus died and rose again, and now God is calling all men everywhere to repent and turn to Him, so that times of refreshing may come. But if we do not repent, no times of refreshing will come. There will only be times of frustration, times of tyranny, times of confusion, times of pillaging, and times of smoking haze and devastation. But Jesus is alive and He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He must reign until all of His enemies have become His footstool.
[The audio for this was included in today’s CrossPolitic Daily News Brief.]